Monthly Archives: December 2010

Coming up: the X Factor Final


According to the mighty Popjustice, Matt Cardle is Shayne Ward/Steve Brookstein’s “boring” brother (ouch), Cher Lloyd is a “just-about-above-average rapper and nice-but-not-extraordinary singer”, One Direction is a wasted vote as Simon Cowell loves them anyway, and Rebecca Ferguson is their singer of choice.

I’m looking back on the last few weeks thinking Matt has had the highest of highs with his version of “The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)”, and he’s had the most ratings most weeks, making him the bookie’s favourite. Cher is the next most rated, with “Stay” her biggest week by far, but being in the bottom a couple of times makes the bookies think she will be first to go. You’ll make a LOT of money if you bet on her and she wins! Rebecca and One Direction have both been growing steadily, peaking last week, though Rebecca did have a standout week with “Candle In The Wind” a few weeks ago. It’s the ballads that grab the attention…

If you want a sneak peek at what they’re all doing tonight, it’s on M is For Music at…

Personally I’m hoping Matt wins AS LONG AS they do a better album with him than they did with any of the other male winners so far, and that seems an incredibly big ask. Why? Like fashionistas who want to design for skinny supermodels, are the best song writers only keen to fashion their best songs for girls? Or is there something really hard about writing for blokes and our disfunctional emotions (not that Elvis had any problems getting writers…)? Is it just assumed that men should be in bands being lads and doing everything their own way? Maybe Matt should be in a band, even if it is a very obviously Matt-centred project (like “Daughtry” has done well for American Idol’s Chris Daughtry, although “Cardle” is clearly not a great band name). Robbie Williams has shown how amazing the right partnership can be (the Guy Chambers years) and how quickly everything can go south when you sack your right hand man. Is it too much to hope that a major label can put the perfect team together for someone like Matt? It would have to be a lot better than they’ve done for Joe McElderry, that’s for sure…

X Factor semi finals

OK, we’re down to the serious bit, where everyone looks like a potential winner, and it’s time to start polishing the final packages. So whose idea was “Club Classics”? Anything to do with the radio station which advertises in the show and is owned by the people who manage the winning artists? I’m calling it “Is This Heart?” week.

“Show Me Love” – nice, sounds pretty similar to the original. Not my thing, but it should cross her over to new fans – smart.
“Amazing Grace” – how weird, one of our church interns showed this film about the song and its writer this week, and I thought how amazing it would be if someone did it on X Factor – it is, by lots of measures, the world’s most popular song. I don’t think Rebecca did the best version ever, but the choice was bold and brilliant.
STATS SAY… big week for Rebecca, best ever, she’s in.

“Never Can Say Goodbye” – more camp than a Butlins showtunes minibreak.
“Memories” – ouch! “What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget” sums it up, pitchwise. Oh no, there is a big emotional story… So you’d be heartless not to vote for her, frankly. Grrr. I’m sure Tesco’s aren’t exactly thrilled by how desperately everyone is to get her out of there. I suppose that’s unlikely to hurt Mary’s chances either.
STATS SAY… same as always – most likely to exit if the iTunes crowd is right. But often they’re not, so we don’t know…

“You Got The Love” – very clever choice of song, thank you Florence for preparing the way, actually quite amazingly good. I like it for being the tune which sounds most like what we love from the artist, and least like what would be playing on Heart every night.
“She’s Always A Woman” – Matt has his own theme this week, songs recently covered by rock people. Nice, don’t know if Simon knows how big a hit it was this year, but it was a bit wobbly for sure. I think it’s still Matt’s show to lose, though.
STATS SAY… actually not a great week for Matt, but he’s still ahead of the pack. He’s in.

“Nothing On You” – also a great song choice, sounds like Cher the actual artist instead of last week’s “Cher! The musical”. Hope she’s not damaged by the apparent identity crisis of the last few weeks.
“Love The Way You Lie” – very well delivered, we’re particularly loving the flame effects, and it worked for us. Not everyone has to do ballads to be successful, surely? Glad she’s looking like at least she knows who she is.
STATS SAY… most ratings for her for ages, but she is a “marmite” artist with as many awful reviews as good ones. Should be through, but I don’t think she’s really winning the most votes.

One Direction
“Only Girl” – nice twist on a girl’s song, though it did sound like they were singing “I’ll make you feel like a man”. Good enough, but I doubt it’ll win them any new fans. The big question for these guys is how big their fanbase really is now.
“Chasing Cars” – another hugely popular song made even better by having five singers and a key change. They’re also looking more polished than ever. By the numbers it works.
STATS SAY… a big step up for the boys this week, but will it be enough to get them all the way to the finish?

The numbers point to Mary, but she may have overwhelming support from the older audience who never goes on iTunes and finds her distinctive against all the other acts. To me it looks like these acts have grown, however, while Mary just does what she does, and I’m going to guess that her fanbase isn’t big enough to take her to the final. Let’s see at 8pm.